Traditional Gender Roles and its effect on the careers of men and women

Gender roles are the roles that women and men are expected to occupy based on their sex. When we look at our history, women’s gender roles circle around characteristics like passivity, helpfulness, and kindness. And hence traditionally, women are seen in the light of as nurturers, caregivers, helpers, and homemakers. On the other hand, men’s gender roles revolve mainly around characteristics such as strength, dominance, and assertiveness. And so traditionally, men’s gender roles include being a leader, breadwinner, and protector.


Times have changed since then and yet as a society we seem to adhere to the traditional gender roles which are outdated in today’s context. I spoke with 100 men and women in the last couple of months and the findings have been astounding. As much as I thought that it would be only women who would be affected by the rigidity of the gender roles, the reality was far different.


Sharing some insights with all of you to ponder and bring awareness.


Traditional gender roles and its effect on women’s careers:

72% women answered ‘yes’ to the question – ‘Do you think you would have been somewhere else or doing something else if you were not bound by the traditional gender roles?”

  1. 29% women said they were denied a promotion because of their pregnancy.
  2. Women are not taking challenging or leadership roles because of being the primary caregiver at home for their kids.
  3. Judgement from society if focused solely on work and career.
  4. Expectations from family members of assumed responsibility of cooking and household chores to be done by women.
  5. Guilt of not being enough for her kids.
  6. Break in careers post motherhood or shifting to a profession or role which is not time wise demanding.
  7. Frustration’, ‘Guilt’ and ‘Resentment’ are the three major emotions these women feel.

Traditional gender roles and its effect on men’s careers:

  1. 69% men answered ‘yes’ to the question – ‘Do you think you would have been somewhere else or doing something else if you were not bound by the traditional gender roles?”
  2. Men were forced to take financially viable careers.
  3. Judgement from colleagues for taking leaves for catering to sick kids at home.
  4. Society status based on the rank/position held at work.
  5. Could not pursue higher education because of the financial providing responsibility for the family.
  6. Careers that these men would have pursued otherwise – authors, farmers, armed forces, poets, sportsmen/athletes, scientists etc.
  7. Pressure’ and ‘Regret’ are the two major emotions these men feel.


The traditional gender roles also play an important role in the belief systems and how some beliefs are stored subconsciously since generations. I would be exploring these findings in the upcoming writings.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now


The intention of this write up is to bring the awareness on how traditional gender roles might have been affecting you and your career. In the light of these findings and exploring how has it personally affected you, you can start breaking the glass ceiling of these roles at your end.


About the Author

Pradnya Vernekar

Hi! I am a certified holistic life coach from the University of Wellness, West Virginia. I am also a certified angel card reader, an energy healer, a spiritual teacher, an avid reader, a natural writer read more...

14 Posts | 36,723 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories